SYDNEY The chance of an El Nino in 2017 has increased in the last two weeks, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said on Tuesday, indicating a 50 percent chance the weather event resurfaces over the next six months.
The BOM said the eastern Pacific Ocean has warmed over the last fortnight, driving many of its climate models toward the El Nino threshold over the next six months.
An El Nino is often associated with below average warmer, dry weather across the Asia Pacific region.
El Ninos are particularly damaging to Australia, with the last one in 2015/16 - the strongest in nearly 20 years - curtailing agricultural production from one world's largest agricultural exporters.
A El Nino this year would potentially emerge as farmers in Australia plant wheat crops, Australia's largest rural export.
Should dry weather persist, production from the world's No. 4 exporter may be stunted, providing some support to benchmark wheat prices, which remain depressed by ample global supplies.
(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)